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Small video components & cabinets

2009-11-19 16:45:53.602494+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

We've moved the TV out of the living room into the bedroom, and I think I'm going to get a swing-out mount, and build a cabinet to hide it when it's not in use (which is most of the time). We don't have any broadcast or cable reception on it, it's just used for playing movies. Even though we still have a VHS player, that's pretty much fallen out of use, only gets pulled out when we want to watch a movie that hasn't made it to DVD yet and I'm willing to hook it up on an as-needed basis, and we have a DVD player that I think cost us $45 (or may even have been something given to us for filling out consumer satisfaction surveys), the tray sticks, but it still works.

However, the stupid DVD player is 19" wide and 10" deep, and if I'm going to get the TV in a little wall-mounted cabinet, it'd sure be nice to do the same thing with the DVD player. And, if the prices have come down enough yet, get something that'll do Blu-Ray at the same time since that seems to have taken over a fairly large portion of the video store (and will probably be obsolete shortly).

So I guess this is two questions:

  1. Is there a small cheap DVD or even Blu-Ray player out there?
  2. How can I design a small cabinet that doesn't require rebuilding every time the generation shifts? Used to be you needed 19"x12", but in this era of TVs being 6" deep including the wall mount, that seems to be over.

[ related topics: Technology and Culture Television Home Improvement ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-25 04:10:21.642535+00 by: ebradway

I took apart the bottom of the fridge today to help one of the cats get his toy out. The coils on this fridge are mounted on the bottom and were horribly clogged with dust bunnies and pet hair. I'm thinking the quick vacuuming I did will save more electricity than replacing the fridge - and was considerably cheaper!

P.S. The Koss DVD is in the mail. Should be there Weds or Fri.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 17:51:58.789353+00 by: Dan Lyke

420 watts still costs less than six cents an hour, which is significant for something that runs all the time, but if it's two or three hours a night doesn't really register.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 17:23:39.82504+00 by: ebradway

Of course the other reason I want a Kill-a-Watt is to determine how much power my file/print server uses to justify buying more hardware. ;)

And the other issue is that my significant other likes to have lots of lights on (I think her night vision is fairly impared) and we haven't found compact florescents that we actually like. So our living room typically has two three-way (150w max) bulbs at full blast in addition to the ceiling fan lights (3x 40w) while the kitchen is usually lit up with about six spots (not sure what the wattage is). I need to play with under cabinet lighting to see if that helps...

Still, our house is just new enough that there are no easy energy wins.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 15:14:11.067413+00 by: Dan Lyke

Thanks! That'd make the space in the bedroom smaller. Although I'm amazed at how deep the TV + wall mount ends up being, and it really dominates that room, I'm definitely going to have to build something to hide it.

It may be worth the $25 for a Kill-A-Watt, but at $30 a month I don't think you're going to pay off a 12 year old refrigerator any time soon. They'd discovered lots of efficiency by 1997, and when we bought our fridge the sales-guy made a really good case that the incremental improvements between what we bought and anything more energy efficient than it would never pay off, even if energy doubled in price.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 06:48:39.513384+00 by: ebradway

I'll drop the Koss in the mail in the next day or so. Good to see it go to use.

Asha and I picked up two nice 2-channel stereos on Craigslist in the past month. I wanted a stereo in the garage and she needed a cassette player in the room she uses for meditation. The great thing about consumer technology changing so fast is that the old, good stuff is dirt cheap. We're also sporting a 36" Sony WEGA TV (our price/sq ft let's us fit the monstrosity in the living room).

I've wanted to hook the fridge up to a power meter to see how much I'd actually save if I replaced it with a new one. The current fridge is a 12-year old side- by-side. Of course, I've got the spare fridge in the garage running right now in preparation for brining the Thanksgiving turkey. So any savings from the main fridge is lost. And actually, our electric bill has never been more than $30, even with the AC running in the Summer. So I don't think the cost savings on the fridge will ever pay off.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-19 23:50:09.513768+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've done a bit of sleep mode and trickle calculation and measurement, and that's resulted in me no longer worrying about it. Almost all the wall warts in our house pull non-measurable amounts of current when they're not feeding something (which is consistent with modern switching power supply design). All my whining about the high cost of ways to switch current really boiled back to the notion that I had to switch 15A, when the devices themselves are just doing milliamps they can be much more efficient about it.Compared to the refrigerator and my desktop computer, with the dishwasher in a supporting role, nothing else in the house really matters in terms of electricity.

Charlene's big on getting the TV in something that hides it completely, and I concur. I'm going to pick up a wall mount this afternoon when I'm up in Rohnert Park and plan a box to hide it when its not in use. It sure looks like those DVD players with the form factor of the old Walkman CD devices, like the Koss that Eric mentioned, would mount on the wall and take up minimal space.

So, yeah, something like that mounted straight to the wall would free up much horizontal space and be good. If I were going to spend $80 and get Blu-Ray vs $40 and get DVD then it'd be worth it, but Blu-Ray players are still expensive enough that I'm not wedded enough to effects movies to gamble that that's not going to be a lost generation.

I'm not sure what the device is that's going to make us switch but I'm fairly sure that within two years the stereo will be replaced by something that talks to the network and a pair of powered speakers. We don't sit and listen to music, it's something we do while doing other stuff, so 5.1 would be lost on us, and our movie viewing experience is such that surround would be similarly wasted there. We've got two ceiling speakers left by the previous inhabitants of the house, the right thing to do may just be to wire those up to the Chumby...

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-19 22:29:38.105374+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I'm thinking in terms of $ per sq foot of house vs $ per square foot of electronics and I'm thinking you should reclaim as much floor space as possible, power consumption (especially sleep mode trickles) is also a concern.

I have enjoyed what I spent on the 42" flat screen high def computer monitor that also get used as a TV/Movie screen sometimes, largely because it made the living room in our small house seem so much bigger.

My next purchase will be to toss out the separate Blu-Ray DVD player and 5.1 stereo/CD/DVD player for something like: this Samsung "wunderbox" wich works well with my Samsung Monitor/TV. especially if I can hide it without an equipment console under the screen.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-19 19:07:55.210875+00 by: Dan Lyke

That Koss looks pretty close to perfect. Given that I expect my next media player will be closer in form factor to the Chumby, I expect that building a cabinet for a 10" deep device like the Curtis will be wasted effort.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-19 18:05:13.92535+00 by: ebradway

I have one of these Koss portable DVD players collecting dust I'd be happy to send you. An advantage of this Koss is that you can probably mount it on the wall - it's top-loading and the disc snaps in. This Coby is probably similar. Mine is 8"Wx6"Dx1.5"H. I even have a remote control around here someplace.

If you have room for a horizontal unit, I think this Curtis DVD1053 is worth the extra bucks. It does progressive scan.